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North American nonwoven capacity increased by 2.5 pc

In 2017, North American nonwoven capacity increased to 4.96 million tonnes, an increase of 2.5 per cent (122 thousand tonnes) over 2016, according to the North American Nonwovens Supply Report published by INDA, the Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry. The report is based on extensive research, producer surveys and interviews with industry leaders.

The fifth edition of the report provides an overall view of North American supply, including the key metrics of capacity, production and operating rates, in addition to regional trade. New in this year’s report is the inclusion of production by end-use markets and regional trade figures in dollar value, in addition to the previously reported tonnage. The 64-page report offers 34 figures and 13 tables.

“This report is the benchmark for North American nonwovens supply information, including not only rolled goods information, but also material produced for internal consumption. It details the industry operating rate; an essential element for our members’ strategic planning and business investment decisions,” said Dave Rousse, INDA president.

The report — and the quarterly INDA Market Pulse and monthly Price Trends Summary — are provided to the 360-plus INDA member companies and associates as part of their membership.

The growth figure in the report accounts for not only the addition of new lines, but also machine productivity increases and line closures (11 in 2017) to arrive at a net increase growth figure. Through the last five years (2012-2017) an additional 663 thousand tonnes of net capacity have been added to the North American market, with the drylaid forming process accounting for 58 per cent of those tonnes.

According to the report, North American imports and exports, in tonnage, declined 2.9 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively year-over-year. However, the trend downward of exports and upward in imports continue, as over the last five years exports have declined 7.9 per cent annually and imports have increased 10.4 per cent annually. Even with the significant shifts in North American trade dynamics, nonwovens tend to stay where they are produced, with the net trade balance (imports less exports) accounting for only 4.1 per cent of the region’s capacity.

“It is INDA’s objective to provide valuable data and actionable industry information. As always, the increasing participation of nonwoven producers – both members and non-members – providing their insights and results makes our success possible,” said Brad Kalil, director of Market Research and Statistics, INDA.

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